Community Education and Outreach 

 

The purpose of the Community Outreach program is to create and maintain partnerships and relationships with religious organizations, those in health care, End of Life care, and bereavement groups to provide education on the healing value of funeral rituals for the dying and their families as well as our community. 

 

In the US over the years, less people are involved in religious practices,  people are more transient in nature so families are not physically located near each other, in addition to the growing trend of being pain avoiders, has changed the face of death in our society.  Many families are choosing not to be involved with end of life care or the death of a loved one.  Funeral rituals are a way for a family to practice their new norm by integrating the death of a loved one into their life.  Funeral rituals bring balance and purpose in an extremely chaotic and emotional time for people, and they bring people together to feel supported during a time of need.   

Yes, funerals are sad and they hurt, but the healing process begins when we face these things head on.  A bereavement specialist will advise families that the more they are involved in the death process the more healing it is in the long run for the survivors.

The Director of this program is Jennifer Moss. If you have any question please contact her at JMoss@blileys.com.

 

HOW DO WE TALK TO FAMILY ABOUT DEATH?

Talking about death is hard but essential and doing it can help you and your family appreciate life. 

Here are some tips on how you can get the conversation started:

  • Timing: make sure you are in a private, quiet place and the person is alert.

  • Be prepared to write things down.

  • Be brave, even when you’re not: be confident but gentle.

  • LISTEN instead of talking or offering opinions or advice.

Do not give advice or talk…listen and take notes.  Silence is OK, these are tough questions and some people may need time to think before they answer...

 Be patient and ask these questions:

  •  How do you feel about the care you are receiving?  (LISTEN)
  • What words of wisdom would you pass on to your childhood self? (LISTEN)

  • What are your fondest memories of your family, siblings, cousins, etc.? (LISTEN)

  • What are your favorite family traditions? (LISTEN)

  • What do you think people will remember most about you? (LISTEN)

  • What worries do you have about death?  (LISTEN)

  • Describe what you would like at your funeral?  (Listen and reassure they are not a burden.)

  • What do you want done with your body? (LISTEN)

 Express your love and appreciation. Reassure they are not a burden.

 Tell the person what contribution they have made to your life and others.

ABOVE ALL: BE BRAVE; EVEN WHEN YOU'RE NOT, PRETEND TO BE.

 

Why are we so scared to talk about death?

  • People are afraid if we talk dying - it will happen
  • People avoid sad topics
  • People don’t want their loved ones to feel like you are “out for their money”
  • People don’t want to make others feel like they are planning for them to be gone.
  • People don’t know what to say.
  • Denial
  • We are scared about our own death.

 

 

What does a good funeral have to do with good grieving?

 Rituals are symbolic activities that help us, together with our families and friends, express our deepest thoughts and feelings about life's most important events.

  • Many clinicians encourage families to actively use rituals to aid in working through the bereavement process (Bolton & Camp, 1987; Fiese, 2006; Imber-Black, 1991).
  • Researchers and practitioners seem to agree that family ritual can afford survivors an opportunity to find comfort by continuing an attachment to their lost loved ones (Attig, 1996; Vickio, 1999).
  • What we found is that when people experience a loss that is important to them, if they engage in a ritual, they feel less grief and less sadness towards the loss that they experienced. In this domain, rituals bring back a sense of control and reduce the level of anger or sadness that people experience Read More

 

A good funeral gets the dead where they need to go and the living where they need to be”- Thomas Lynch